Home | Comment & Analysis    Saturday 24 September 2011

Vision of New Sudan still a threat to Khartoum


By Peter Kuot Ngong

“There are no shortcuts and no easy walks to Freedom.” Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Naivasha Kenya 2004

September 23, 2011 — To those hunters in mountainous ranges who defected and jumped to the top of the mountains in Kidepo, Imatong, Kapoeta and Kilkilai and started pointing their weapons shooting down on the SPLA forces, and to those Nilotic herdsmen of the swampy regions of Upper Nile who defected, mobilised in Nasir and formed a group called the Nasir Faction which coalesced with the enemy in an expedition to destroy the movement under the leadership of Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior. It is high time to give our memories substantial instances to pore over all that happened in the past and whether the vision of the ’New Sudan’ was the right formula to use as a principle for achieving the ‘freedom’ of the people of South Sudan, or what Dr. John Garang called ‘shortcuts’ were better applicable.

As the new Republic of South Sudan moves on with its development plans using its own resources without any intimidation or threats from any external forces, the National Congress Party (NCP) which controls the North Sudan government still feels a great threat of what was coined as ‘The New Sudan Vision’ by the most sophisticated politicians of Sudan including Late Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Late Yusuf Kuwa of Nuba Mountains, Salva Kiir Mayardit, Yassir Arman, Malik Agar and so many other political elites of Sudan, some of them late and others still breathing.

After the declaration of independence of South Sudan two months ago, there are still political forces and geographical regions counted to North Sudan that are calling for the achievement of the vision of New Sudan as the only way to transform Sudan into a democratic, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-ethnic heterogeneous state that observe justice and equality of its citizens for a better progress.

That is a war the North will be fighting for years, as the horns of freedom are blown on the top of mountains in Nuba by Abdelaziz Adam Al-Hilu, they are heard in Darfur by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and down to Blue Nile by Malik Agar. That is a big threat to Khartoum and therefore a prevailing golden uninterrupted freedom of the people of South Sudan.

When I met Comrade Yassir Arman in Juba after the declaration of independence of South Sudan with other journalists in a group, he strongly asserted that the vision of ’New Sudan’ is the only factor for a better Sudan and the good formula for keeping the North and South in a better relationship to the interests of their respective citizens. Yassir described North and South Sudan as countries that are socially and economically intact and any political move to derail their historical relationship will not be at the interest of the citizens of either countries and therefore a regime change will be required to happen in the north.

When I met Malik Agar on the same day as a journalist to query him on the same issue, he told me that any miscalculated approach to his people by the Northern tyrants will amount to war that will be coordinated from Blue Nile to South Kordofan and to Darfur. This shows that the war has not ended in Sudan, though it has ended in the South. The vision of ’New Sudan’ has to continue to achieve the blissful dreams of the Sudanese citizens.

Back to the point on whether late Dr. John Garang was right to implicate and impose the vision of ’New Sudan’ for the freedom, justice and equality not only for the South Sudanese but also for the marginalised people of other parts of Sudan including Darfur and Eastern Sudan (the people of Adondowe), we have to descend deep down the history right from the inception of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A).

The vision has long been criticised by many Southern political elites after failing to understand what it really means for the struggle and started adopting what Dr. John Garang called ‘shortcuts’ as the miscalculated moves to earn independence of South Sudan. John Garang said the following statement for those who understood the vision of ’New Sudan’ at different dimensions.

“I am aware that the New Sudan has been criticized by people in the past …... This is because as we have seen New Sudan has several dimensions. It is at the same time a vision which guides us as well as an objective to be achieved and it is also quoted as a strategy adapted.” Dr. John Garang de Mabior, 2004.

As Dr. John Garang states it above, many people absorbed New Sudan into their minds with different understanding.

The failure to understand the meaning of New Sudan as a vision has led to some individuals, parties, groups, tribes and even regions calling Dr. John Garang a Unionist and proclaimed themselves as the advocates for the recently attained independence of South Sudan.

Garang was not a unionist but a political player whose game is now still playing in Sudan to keep the South Sudanese citizens safer. He was called a unionist by those who failed to understand his political contrivance. If anyone did follow his speech after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, then he said;

“We have brought to you the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on a golden plate… It will be upon you whether to vote to be a second class citizen in your own country...”

For that case Garang was not a unionist.

Therefore, based on the above simple statement that has been widely quoted, Dr. John Garang was an underlying separatist who did not want to call directly for the independence of South Sudan from the initial stages of the struggle.

It was foreseeable that any movement calling directly for the independence of South Sudan like the former SSIM (South Sudan Independence Movement) of Dr. Riek Machar would easily be crushed by the government of Sudan because it will easily rally all the other parts of Sudan against the Southerners. The popular Islamist Hassan Al-Turabi tried that move and it worked. He called the SPLM/A war against Khartoum government, a Christian war against Islam and he mobilised forces from all the Arab countries called them holy warriors or Mujahideen.

This prompted Dr. John Garang to form a movement that will involve all the marginalised areas of Sudan like Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan, for a well coordinated struggle against the unjust government of Sudan. Here is the history of how the idea of ’New Sudan’ came about.

The idea of ’New Sudan’ was coined through the first approved manifesto of the SPLM that was released immediately after the launch of the struggle in 1983.

When all the SPLM/A leaders mobilised at their base in Ethiopia in 1983 after the launch of the war in Bor on 16th May 1983, there was an immediate need to formulate the manifesto even before forming a long term leadership as required by former Ethiopian regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam which was behind the struggle in terms of logistical support.

The power wrangles that aroused among the leaders were only solved by a well defined manifesto. The Ethiopian government requested for well-defined manifesto as a precondition to support the war against Khartoum government.

The late Akuot Atem who was a high ranking and popular leader and had a great support from the South Sudanese refugees camps in Ethiopia rushed to establish the rebels’ leadership in which he placed himself the Chairman of the movement and Dr. John Garang as the Chief of Staff before the group met the Ethiopian Defence Ministry.

When Mengistu sent his Defence Minister to meet the group, Akuot Atem presented a manifesto to him. The manifesto for the struggle was mainly and directly calling for independence South Sudan.

The Communist Ethiopian government refused to support the armed struggle that directly calls for disintegration of a country. The Minister of Defence told the SPLM leaders that Ethiopia fully supports the African Charter (Africa Union) which does not allow further the partitioning of Africa.

The Ethiopian authorities called on Dr. John Garang who had already established good relations with them to re-write the manifesto. Dr. John Garang wrote a well-defined manifesto in which he stipulated clearly that the SPLM is fighting for “a democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, heterogeneous new Sudan that observes justice and equality of its citizens, and disburse all the national resources to all parts of the country for prosperity for all”.

The manifesto was very much welcomed by Ethiopia and committed all their efforts to ensure a powerful base and support to the starting movement against Sudan government.

What the SPLM wanted was an immediate support whether internally or externally, so it was not fighting to be a communist government because of being supported by the communist regime of Mengistu Mariam.

After seeing Mengistu accepting the manifesto written and idealistically based on Dr. John Garang, Akuot Atem and Gai Tut fell out with Garang and mobilised their own forces accusing the Ethiopian government of forcefully making Garang the leader of the movement.

Those power wrangles that were based on individual interests were not focusing on what to be fought for and how it would be achieved. There was a need for the movement to be run by people who are educated, people who understand what they are fighting for, but most of the Southern intellectuals who joined the SPLM at the start and establishing of the struggle were greedy and selfish. They used their academic qualifications to challenge their uneducated colleagues and started questioning why they shouldn’t be inserted into higher ranking positions.

The initial mission of the SPLM according to its technical proprietor Dr. John Garang was to mobilise as many intellectuals as possible so that the war can be well explained to the international community. Other parts of Sudan also requested to join because they were also feeling the same pain as Southerners.

The struggle for ’New Sudan’ attracted other parties like National Democratic Alliance to join the SPLM. The Eastern Sudan as well as Darfur later joined to support the struggle against the government in Khartoum.

According to Dr. John Garang, reaching to 1990s, some members within the SPLA started viewing ’New Sudan’ as long method of fighting for freedom and resorted to the ‘shortcuts’ like the Khartoum Agreement, Fashoda Agreement, Djibouti Peace Agreement which failed to earn freedom for South Sudan according to the expectations of the founders.

Several parties later joined the SPLM and altogether supported the long method, the ’New Sudan Vision’ which has finally brought about the Independence of South Sudan. The call for an independent South Sudan was needed at the level of negotiations of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement as it was done in Naivasha Kenya. And that was the point where Dr. Riek Machar was needed. At that point, the Nassir declaration was actually needed to be part of the CPA.

Dr. Riek’s Nassir Declaration directly called for the independence of South Sudan. The SPLM’s motto of self determination was then used to supplement on that and yielded that agreement of Southern Sudan Referendum.

’New Sudan’ is still a threat to Khartoum because Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan are still fighting for it.

Peter Kuot Ngong is a journalist in South Sudan. He can be reached at kuotp@yahoo.com for any comments

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  • 24 September 2011 07:57, by MINDED.DUDE

    Peter Kuot NGONG,
    The first paragraph is really bad,so you are intentionally insulting these communities.
    Kikilai---Didinga people.
    These tribes in eastern Equatoria are the back-born of south sudan.
    Either you like it or Not, they are always there.Even if you hate and wage war to them still you will never finish them..
    And fyi Kikilai is NOT written Kilkilai,you are pronunciation can tell that you are entirely enemy of Equatoria region .

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  • 24 September 2011 11:24, by George Bol

    Dear Kuot Ngong,

    You have written excellence SPLM/A history. I encourage those who do not know how South Sudan independent come about to print this article and always used it for references. This is exactly right dear brother.

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  • 24 September 2011 11:44, by mohammed ali

    Are you talking from another plant!

    New Sudan is no longer a vision, it is a reality which we can see happening infront of us!

    You seem happy with it, good for you, enjoy it!

    But unfortuntely the people of Sudan want to remain with their old tradational Sudan. They are wondering why they see thousands of southerners leaving the paradise of the new Sudan and coming to the old hell of the Arabs and NCP. These southerners must be un-grateful to their glorious SPLA liberators! Nasty bad people!

    The world is laughing!

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    • 24 September 2011 16:45, by Akol Liai Mager

      At least Non-Southern Sudanese neither from SPLM or other Parties are internationally proven guilty of Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      I wonder how could civilised people be proud of a group of criminals, enemies of freedom, women floggers and rebels who rebelled aganist the democratically elected civilian regime.

      Anyway you the NIF supporters have rights to be so jealous because you have lost South Sudan’s Oil and route to heaven for the human’s butchers (Mujahadeen). Unless the NIF thugs are put behind closed doors at the Hague or Kober Prison, Darfur, Nuba Mts, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan will follow the South.

      There will be no other way for Old Sudan other than following its Sister, the Republic of Yugoslavia into history.

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  • 24 September 2011 17:37, by Mi diit

    Peter Kuot,

    I don’t when you people will regain dignity that telling lies is unwelcome in our cultures and norms.

    Look at this big lie here;

    "The Ethiopian authorities called on Dr. John Garang who had already established good relations with them to re-write the manifesto. Dr. John Garang wrote a well-defined manifesto in which he stipulated clearly that the SPLM is fighting for “a democratic, multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, heterogeneous new Sudan that observes justice and equality of its citizens, and disburse all the national resources to all parts of the country for prosperity for all”.

    Peter Kuot, I know that without telling lies by you people, you think the truth can never be found in your poor arguments.

    Garang in 1983 manifesto wanted "socialist united Sudan". He just changed it to "united secular democratic Sudan" in 1990s. So please I beg you to stop being liars all the time. Distorting history is not history making at all.

    Well, you said Garang was not a unionist. Rebecca Nyandeng wrote on gurtong.com last year, saying Garang was a unionist. Dr. Lual Achuek Deng in his confession said Garang always used to convince him that unity of Sudan is the only way. Then if they are the ones you rebuke, then you are rebuking Garang’s family members too.

    Dr. Riek Machar’s nasir declaration called for self-determination in 1991, not just separation as you lied.

    There is difference between the mechanism of self-determination to democratically get to independence and the separation outright using bullets. You better know the difference.

    Garang should have at least called for self-determination as a mechanism instead of open united Sudan. Where would you get independence now using new united Sudan vision without Dr. Riek Machar’s self-determination of 1991, of Khartoum Peace Agreement, which was then copied to CPA. Of course CPA is just a revised version of Khartoum Peace Agreement with the exception of the UN peace keepers and referendum for Abyei, which has not taken place any way.

    Now the mess of Garang’s utopia of new Sudan vision, which he himself did not know how to achieve it, is haunting the people of Nuba mountains and Blue Nile. I tell you that don’t be surprised that these two regions may join Riek Machar’s self-determination in the future, in order to be free.

    Garang’s vision of new Sudan was violent. It was not like the vision of King Martin Luthers of USA or Mandella of South Sudan who pursued a peaceful vision and achieved it. Garang’s style of pursuing his vision was violent, dictatorial and a coup like approach. So, it would not have been the vision but the violent that would have imposd his vision whether good or bad.

    As poor as it was, the vision lacked exit strategy to South Sudan’s independence, which of course showed that Garang was a diehard unionist. There was no any reference to self-determination or referendum for South Sudan in his vision.

    Ah, God went with the right vision of self-determination of Dr. Riek Machar and here we are a free people in an indpendent country. Don’t disturb us with a violent vision of new Sudan, unlike that peaceful visions of Martin Luthers in USA and Mandela of South Africa.

    Garang even joined the NDA of the betrayer Sadiq al Mahdi in Asmara, entrusting him to implement as the leader the vision after the dream to overthrow Bashir. How could you trust Al-Mahdi who ruled Sudan twice and did the worst to implement your vision.

    Any way, it remains a dream to the people of South Sudan who were saved by the Nasir faction’s call for self-determination.

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    • 25 September 2011 01:06, by Abyei Soil

      Peter Kuot,
      You’ve hit the mahogan trunk. It’s true. "the truth is I am here to negotiate peace with Palestinians, the truth is Palestinians want to have peace by force.... Said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamine Netanyahu in the united nation submit at Newyork in the United State on Friday 23rd, 2011" so likewise the truth is Dr. John Garang De Mabior was a rare politikian, and a cherismatic leader which I believed his gap has remained empty for a decade of years. Omer Al Bashir is not a easy guy who can accept self determination of southerners from Khartoum just like that. He is not stupid to do that. How many agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Abuja Nigeria, Djibouti but did he honoured them accordingly? Even now we still have borders issues, Abyei protocol but did he respect them? And these are agreements made outside Khartoum in the eyes of foreign dignitaries. He failed to respect them now talk of Khartoum agreement, what if he managed to dishonour foreign delegate, what do you thinks should be the result of internal agreements. These people (Mi diit) have something needs to be taught to them before it is too late. This is a good and correct article I ever had on this site. Keep writting Mr. Kuot. facebook.com/abyeis.
      From Abyei. Thanks all.

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      • 25 September 2011 14:34, by Mi diit


        Yes Garang was one of our dear leaders, some of whom are still alive. We don’t have kingdom in South Sudan and so we should not look at leaders, past and present, like kings of cannibals. I think you know the story of the king of cannibals, what happened to his followers after he died. Let us just remember all our leaders starting from 1820 to present. It is a long story.

        I also I advise Peter Kuot Ngong to advise his uncle who wrote the artice in his name to right truthfully. What I mean is that there are reckless uncles in the government who write such articles and give them to some journalists or so called young writers to post them using their names. Stop it please.

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        • 26 September 2011 11:38

          Accepting reality is what makes a fair debate and it is within itself that you will win people’s support comes when you will argue your own facts. I am refering to some people on this site who adamantly dispute facts and try to fabricate them with lies. Whoever doesn’t believe that Dr John Garang never intended to have a seperately independent South is just trying to deprive him the credit.

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        • 26 September 2011 11:52

          The evidences 4 Dr John Garang’s opinion on seperation of South Sudan are well documented with the most recent ones being those in his speech upon the promulgation of CPA in Nairobi and the subsequent speeches 2 South Sudanese communities in Diaspora & back home. Unless one’s not in possession of the references, these facts shall never be changed nor confused with unionist politics once expressed.

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  • 26 September 2011 01:40

    The "New Sudan," vision and its effects on Southern Sudanese unification

    By: Kim Deng, Bilpam, South Sudan

    The 1955 Torit mutiny marked the beginning of the 17 year old war that was ended by the defunct Anya-Nya I and by the Anya-Nya II insurgencise from 1975-1983, were fought on the priciples of the right of self-determination-meaning the establishment of an independent and sovereign S

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  • 26 September 2011 01:46

    The 2nd split between the Separatists and Unionists within SPLA/M in 1991

    There have been many Separatists within SPLA/M since 1983 who believed that Garang’s "New Sudan," vision must be challenged within until their strategy yielded signal towards Garang’s "New Sudan," vision in 1991 due to what we call "Nasir move," the very blessing day for Southern Sudanese, the Nasir Declaration of Augus

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